Category Archives: Art

Art Al Fresco: Where to Enjoy Creative Works Outdoors Around DC


You don’t always have to go into a museum to enjoy great works of art. They are outdoors in gardens, along our landscapes, and even throughout city streets, so you can enjoy a nice day outside along with large scale sculptures, provocative installations, fun and interesting murals, even fairy houses. Here are some great places to see them around the DC area. Happy Art-ing!

National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
Where: 7th & Constitution NW | National Mall, DC
When: Daily, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free
The museum’s outdoor area is always fun to stroll (or glide) through with large-scale installations and sculptures adding beauty, creativity, and and whimsy to the National Mall. See a giant typewriter eraser, a gleaming silver tree, and Lichtenstein’s optical illusion house among the many impressive works.


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King and Queen in the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden

Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden (Currently closed for renovation)
Where: National Mall, DC
When: Daily, 9am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy the outdoor area at the modern art museum on the National Mall. Take a stroll through the works, and check out this FAQ for more about visiting. You can pop in for free daily from 10am – 4:30pm. And to make the most of your time, visit the lovely garden between the Hirshhorn and Arts & Industries Building and the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the castle.


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The Kreeger’s outdoor area is especially cool for kids

Kreeger Museum
Where: 2401 Foxhall Road NW | Foxhall, DC
When: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $15/adult, $10/senior & military, free for kids

The small art museum in DC’s Foxhall-Palisades neighborhood is perfect for an art fix with kids that’s gratifying without being overwhelming. It includes a five-acre outdoor area showcasing all kinds of large-scale installations that are beautiful, interesting, even quirky and fun. There is a fountain/pool with seating and sculptures around it,  a small patch of woods with art and a trail that loops around, and a grassy expanse with works that you’ll all enjoy.  There’s even a piece “climbing” on the side of building, another snaking up a tree, and one that plays solar powered music.  The museum is open Tuesday – Saturday with timed-entry sessions that need to be reserved in advance.  Read more about the Kreeger in this KFDC post.


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Annmarie Sculpture Garden
Where: 13470 Dowell Road | Solomons, MD
When: Mon-Fri, 9am – 5pm | Sat, 10am – 5pm | Sun, 12-5pm
Admission $5
The grounds of the arts center in Calvert County are filled with all kinds of creative works, from large abstract sculptures to “tree pops” and birdhouses to .  In spring and summer, their annual Fairies in the Garden exhibit is delightful to tour.  Some of the bigger works are part of the permanent collection, and many more are on loan from the Hirshhorn, National Gallery of Art, and other private collections. A stroll among all of it along a looping path is lovely, relaxing, and kind of magical. And the Fairy Lolly is the sweetest kids’ play area! Indoor galleries feature even more art and artsy activities.  See more about Annmarie here.


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Where:  12100 Glen Road | Potomac, MD
When: Thursday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

This one is for the T(w)een Scene, as Glenstone requires visitors to be at least 12 years old.  The indoor/outdoor modern art museum sprawling gloriously over 300 acres in Potomac showcases modern works inside a gallery and outside around the beautiful grounds. Take advantage of the Guaranteed Entry program, which admits students and one accompanying adult without having to reserve tickets. Be sure to note that they don’t allow children under 12 at all, but it’s a wonderful place to visit with tweens and teens! Read more about Glenstone in this KFDC post.


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Some of the Statehood murals near The Atlas on H Street

DC Murals Tour
Where: Around DC
When: Ongoing
Admission: Free
You can find art by local artists all over the city on sides of buildings, temporarily boarded-up storefronts, even right on the street. MuralsDC, an initiative from the DC Department of Public Works, is an excellent resource for locating, learning about, and touring local murals. You can refer to the digital map and find tours of collections, including the 51 Murals for DC Statehood and U Street Corridor Walking Tour.


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There’s art to enjoy in the garden at the REACH

The REACH at the Kennedy Center
Where: 2700 F Street NW | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Daily
Admission: Free
The beautiful grounds of The REACH, part of the Kennedy Center, are open and free for visitors to explore. Not only are there a few works of art located around the area, the artfully designed buildings are impressive to view. You can stroll around, check out the sculptures and structures, and take in vistas of the Potomac.


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Wooden jangseung totem poles at Meadowlark

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
Where: 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct | Vienna, VA
When: Daily, 10am – 4pm Nov 1-March 25 | 10am-7pm, March 2-Oct 31
Admission: $8/adult, $4/age 6-17 & seniors, free/5 & under

While Meadowlark’s 95 acres are a horticultural gem in Northern Virginia, its gardens features some wonderful artistic works as well. There are some large sculptures to admire as you wander around.  And some of the gardens works of art themselves — the Korean Bell Garden, for instance, features the bell  a couple of pavilions, and a pretty fountain flowing through it.  Part of the joy in viewing it all is coming upon them as you stroll outdoors. Read more about Meadowlark in this KFDC post.


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Mirror Mirror, a past installation at the Alexandria Waterfront

Pop-Up Art Installations
Where: Old Town Waterfront | Alexandria, VA
When: Ongoing
Admission: Free

You can almost always count on some kind of interesting art installation to be on view at the Old Town

Alexandria Waterfront. Interstellar Influencer is the current work at the end of King Street, behind the Torpedo Factory, right next to the Potomac River is an open space, where unique, large-scale art is regularly featured. It’s fun to stop by and see it — sometimes interact with it — and enjoy being by the water. Of course, you can make a longer outing of it in Old Town and visit the Torpedo Factory, stroll around King Street, and maybe even do some secondhand shopping.


Do you know of other great places around DC to see art al fresco?  Let us know in the comments!


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Filed under Art, DC, Maryland, Outdoor, Virginia

Go on an Art Safari at the Torpedo Factory this Saturday!


Mark your calendar for a day of creative activities for kids and families! This Saturday, October 21, from 12pm to 4pm, join the Torpedo Factory Art Center for the 28th Annual Art Safari, an Alexandria tradition for more than a quarter-century.  Art Center artists will lead budding art enthusiasts through exciting and creative projects on all three floors of the Art Center.

Guests can look forward to all of these art adventures:

* Learn about Painting and the Potter’s Wheel through live demonstrations.

* Become a work-of-art by having your face painted or getting a special temporary tattoo.

* Build larger-than-life creations through paper mache with Lisa Schumaier.

* Create dynamic collages using bits of fabric and fiber with Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery artists.

* Play and experiment with a piece of wet clay to mold and shape into any form they can imagine led by artist Tracie Griffith Tso.

* Take part in a scavenger hunt — use art by Tara Barr as a guide to find iconic imagery around the Art Center and stop by the Art League to complete their own gallery-specific scavenger hunt and learn more about their current exhibition.

* Slip into the past with Alexandria’s Archaeology Museum and experiment with 19th century ceramic slip designs like marbling and dendritic patterns, and apply temporary tattoos in the style of transfer printed porcelain ceramics.

* Take a break by listening to live storytelling and music all while enjoying an overlooking view of the waterfront.

* Collaborate with artists on coloring pages specially designed by the Art Center artists.

The event is great for kids ages 5 and older.  Younger children will have fun, too, but may need some extra help.  Kids can get messy creating with artists at Torpedo Factory Art Center, so dress for mess!
This FREE event is open to the public.

Art Safari
Where: Torpedo Factory Art Center | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, October 21, 12-4pm
Admission: FREE!

This post is paid for by Torpedo Factory Art Center, however, I only promote programs, services, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2023, Art, Fall, Special Event, Virginia, Weekend

Get Creative at the National Gallery of Art’s First Saturday of September!


With a long weekend ahead, there’s even more time to enjoy some fun with the family.  And one great way to spend some of that time is at the National Gallery of Art ‘s monthly First Saturday! The special day-long affair offers multiple free programs for kids of all ages.

On Saturday, September 2, the fun begins with a story time session for little ones.  Hear a reading of the children’s book Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle in English and Spanish and stay for a little play time, too.

Then starting at 11am, all ages can enjoy even more: Create sculptures using Model Magic clay, try out the new Sketching Lab, and visit the museum’s pop-up library, where you can browse special selections from the Library collection and enjoy quiet activities for kids.

These free activities are offered throughout the East Building and don’t require registration. View more details and the full schedule of the day’s activities here.

Of course, plan for time to tour the exhibits, too!

First Saturday
Where: National Gallery of Art, East Building | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, September 2, 10am – 3pm
Admission: FREE!


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This post is sponsored by the National Gallery of Art, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2023, Art, DC, Museums, Summer, Weekend

Immerse in Life of a Neuron at ARTECHOUSE


ARTECHOUSE has explored a variety themes and concepts through digital art since it opened in Southwest DC just over four years ago.  The gallery known for its fusion of art and technology has presented exhibitions inspired by seasons, space, natural phenomenon, color, and more themes that are part of our human experience, though outside of our actual beings.

The newest exhibition, Life of a Neuron, takes us on the inside as it features the “thinking cells” of the brain.

As ARETCHOUSE describes it: “Life of a Neuron brings artists and scientists together for a groundbreaking collaboration to explore how the brain shapes the shared human experience. Through collaboration with the Society for Neuroscience and the world’s leading scientists and creatives, this immersive exhibit will allow us to experience a neuron—from pre-birth to death—providing an experiential view of life at a cellular level.”

Like all exhibitions there, the core installation is the digital projections in the main gallery.  Trippy, captivating scenes swirl around the walls and floors while dramatic music plays in the background.  It’s interesting to see what kinds of images and color combinations are coming next.  (Note: While some past exhibits at ARTEHOUSE have been soothing and peaceful, this one isn’t so much, something to be aware of for kids who are sensitive to a lot of stimulation.)

The side galleries feature smaller installations with interactive elements.  They looked intriguing, though to be honest, it was difficult to get a close look at all of them during the media preview, as we were trying to maintain space. (Timed-entry tickets during the exhibit’s run should keep that from being an issue.)

The bar is back open — Thursday – Monday, 11am – 10pm — with its menu of exhibit-inspired cocktails, plus beer, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks. Sasha and I enjoyed refreshing sodas, and I recommend the Rosemary Cardamom! Be sure to download the ARTECHOUSE the app for the “extended reality” experience that transforms drinks into sparkling sensations!


Life of a Neuron
Where: ARTECHOUSE | 1238 Maryland Ave. SW
When: September 27 – November 28
Admission: $24/adult, $17/age 4-15, free/under 4


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Filed under 2021, All ages, Art, DC, Exhibit, Fall

Join the Alma Thomas Community Celebration at the National Gallery of Art this Weekend!


The National Gallery of Art reopened its doors last spring, and it’s been wonderful to return to one of our favorite museums again.  Even better, it’s open daily, making it a go-to any day of the week.  But this coming weekend, September 24-26, will be an especially great time to visit, as the museum hosts a Community Celebration honoring late pioneering artist Alma Thomas!

The in-person, on-site event will feature a variety of activities and experiences that explore Thomas’s life and her wide range of creative endeavors, all of them self-guided for Covid safety.  Plus, there are extra goodies and discounts to enjoy while you’re there!  The weekend offerings and festivities include:

·    Free art kits with a coloring book of National Gallery works by local artists, coloring materials, and a cutout doll designed by Brittany Jackson, illustrator of the acclaimed children’s book Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment.

·     A special flower display inspired by Alma Thomas’s Pansies in Washington (1969)  

·     A display showcasing works by local community members, celebrating Alma Thomas’s art and legacy 

·     50% discount on Alma Thomas-inspired gelato at the Espresso & Gelato Bar  

·     15% discount on shops purchases with the code ALMA15 (onsite and online) 

·     A pop-up performance from Howard University Bands at 4pm on Sunday 


Thomas’ painting, Tiptoe Through the Tulips, inspired by sights, sounds, & smells of DC


The event is part of a larger citywide celebration featuring a symposium with virtual sessions September 22-23. Geared toward adults, it will bring together noted scholars, artists, and curators to discuss Alma Thomas’s life and legacy, including an introduction by Michelle Obama.

The National Gallery of Art’s Community Celebration will take place in the East Building from 1-5pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Admission is free.

Alma Thomas Community Celebration
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Friday – Sunday, September 24-26, 1-5pm
Admission: Free


This post is sponsored by the National Gallery of Art, however, I only promote events, programs, and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2021, All ages, Art, DC, Fall, Free, Museums, Weekend